Expectations at the end of Reception(47 Posts)
I'd be really grateful for any advice anyone has on this as I am hugely confused and, to be honest, a bit upset following a meeting with my child's teacher. I'm not going to post reams of detail to start with because a) it'll bore everyone to death, and this post will be long enough already, b) half of it won't be relevant and c) some of it might be identifying. However I'm more than happy to answer any questions.
So...my lovely, PFB, little boy. Quite prem and poorly and I've always been a bit anxious about him and now diagnosed as deaf (mild/moderate hearing loss - has aids). But also lovely, cheery, friendly, inquisitive, popular, generally reasonably well behaved, increasingly vocal (since hearing aids).
Reception report, 10 expecteds, 7 emergings (the 4 academic ones, plus speaking, moving and handling and managing feelings and behaviour - he is distractible/distracting). I would say, having read the descriptions, that he cannot be very far from achieving the reading and shapes, etc goals, he's a bit of a reluctant writer (though he can do it) and he needs a bit more work on adding and subtracting to achieve the maths.
Met with teacher to discuss. I was expecting, not least from the wording of the report, lots of reassurance about how he had made a good start, was close to the goals, could catch up, etc. Instead the impression I got was very much that my son was probably either of below average IQ or a child who has specific learning difficulties (beyond his hearing loss). There was discussion of him returning to reception when year 1 were addressing more difficult topics, even though the teacher accepted that this would put him at a greater disadvantage going forward. I'm just struggling to square this with my little boy who, on the way to school the other day, informed me that a snail that he found might be nocturnal and then accurately explained to me what that means and gave me some other animal examples (thanks apparently to Paw Patrol). He's also been really engaged by the most recent topic they did in reception and has been telling me lots of facts about it.
I'm aware that the Tory reforms mean that the curriculum, even for EYFS, is much more challenging than it was before and for that reason I was always expecting that my little boy might struggle a bit (he is a late spring birth, would have been summer but for prematurity, and I think he would have been better off in the next school year but that wasn't an option) but I now feel, having spoken to his teacher today, that he's never going to catch up, let alone have a chance of excelling if that's what he's ultimately capable of, because he's made such a poor start.
I'm finding it really hard, to be honest, that I can't just use my own brain to fix this for him. Obviously his own education is something he has to do for himself, though we will support him as much as we possibly can. However I can't spend all my free time tutoring him (I try to do fun spelling/reading/maths in every day life, plus reading eggs, mathletics, etc, but he's not daft and will resist what he perceives to be excessive homework).
I have found a tutor who offers 1-to-1 support for children with SEN and wonder whether that would be worth a trial - maybe he would be more receptive to a stranger and more willing to engage in the things he needs to practice at home like writing. Also school have suggested SALT/EP assessment but waiting lists are huge and we'd be prepared to jump that and cough up privately. Has anyone done this? I work with these professionals in my job but normally engage them for profoundly disabled kids.
On the other hand though, and the reason I'm posting here really, do a search and you will find lots of posts on this site saying "Oh my god, he's fucking 5, give the poor child a break, my child didn't know the alphabet until he was 10 and now he's doing a PhD at Cambridge, etc" so am I, and my kid's teacher. just entirely overreacting and he will ultimately just achieve his academic potential anyway? Or does Govean education policy now mean that you fail at 5, you fail forever unless, in the Tory way, you manage to acquire sufficient resources that you can circumvent the state?
Imho there are some children who are behind at 5 but will catch up a bit later when everything just clicks. There are also children where that doesn't happen and who would benefit from early intevention. I don't think it's possible to tell which children are which at 5 but I suspect you do more harm to the second group by not providing extrs help, than you do to the first by giving extra help. If he does need a bit of extra help at this stage, I don't think it's necessarily a csse of 'fail at 5, doomed forever'. Some children just need a bit of a push in the right direction and then they are fine.
Did the teacher give any pointers for exactly which parts of the 7 areas he was emerging in that he struggles with?
Thanks Rafa. I don't have a problem at all with him having some intervention at this stage, in fact I 'd welcome it. It was just the way the teacher was talking that made me feel like he'd already been written off.
The areas for improvement identified in his report were reading words with more than one syllable, forming all letters correctly and punctuating and knowing pairs of numbers which add up to 10/20 (which I didn't realise was an EYFS goal). I'm going to speak to her in more detail about this so we can work with him over the holidays.
More generally, he is quite fidgety and struggles to sit still and focus, eg in assembly. This seems to have got worse rather than better as the year has gone on (I suspect because he has got more confident whereas he was probably too scared to move at the start of the year). At home, when we are doing anything that he perceives to be boring, he has endless strategies for distraction and I don't doubt that he applies these at school too.
You don't have to know which pairs add up to 10/20 but you have to be able to add and subtract two single digit numbers.
It might be worth looking at the exemplifiation material to see what the EYFS goals are and how his work differs from it.
Hearing loss is an issue as phonics relies to heavily on discrete sounds so this may have hindered his learning initially. If the target is multi syllable words he doesn't sound too far behind! Some children who are emerging can't read.
Odd. I'm no expert, but I thought reading words with more than 1 syllable was part of the descriptor for exceeding. Obviously there are other parts of the expected descriptor not just reading words but it's strange that's what she's given as an area of improvement.
I think you're right about the number bonds too. That part of the ks1 curriculum. The expected level in eyfs involves addition and subtraction but allows children to use objects to support that.
Fidgeting and work avoidance might be an issue, but not particularly rare at this age. Just make sure he's not avoiding in order to hide the fact he can't do something.
Number bonds are now covered by expected. It is pre cursor to multiplication that is part of exceeding.
Reading 2 syllable words in one go is part of exceeding. Some of my emergings couldn't read, although some were getting there with stage 2.
You sound like a thoroughly lovely mum OP. Supportive, loving and wanting the best for her son who sounds like he has had a challenging start to life.
Can I just say a few things which might help put things in context;
Can we just remember he's 5. Most 5 year olds in the rest of Europe are either not in school, or in an entirely play based environment with very little focus on maths, reading and writing. The bar for EYFS has been raised, quite significantly. Boys do not tend to suit the style of learning which happens in much of primary- they tend to need to move around more than is encouraged. This is normal. My son is exactly the same! And your son faces more challenge than most- on these facts alone I think the number of achieved goals is remarkable. You should be commended for that.
Now to talk about you and your relationship with the school. They have upset you in the way they have spoken about his progress. But the onus is on them as a school to put in place plans to support him to "catch up" so him being identified as behind just means he gets more help. This is a good thing. Turn it around and ask them what they're going to do to help his reach his potential.
However, as a parent you get to decide how well your child is doing on a metric which you get to choose. To be potentially written off by an education system age 5 is everything which is wrong with the current approach. Keep doing what you're doing and try to focus on what he is able to do.
I personally think it is a crime that some of my summet borns are allowed into school. It should be parental discretion whether to enter them if they are easter borns on.
Thanks for the suggestion moab, your link seems to be a bit wonky but I'll google and have a look at the materials.
He's currently on red band books but he can read them through without difficulty and I'm a bit surprised that he hasn't been moved up yet. I was actually pretty impressed with his reading until we got his report, particularly as he was obviously hampered at the start by his hearing.
He can add and subtract using objects and also using a number line if I remind him how it works at the start. He also does know some number bonds, eg 5+5=10.
The work avoidance definitely seems to be shirking what he perceives as boring work rather than an ability issue. For example he's supposed to write a sentence for his homework each week which he was able to do with a bit of support in March but is now like pulling teeth - he won't even copy text which he's definitely capable of doing.
I'm glad that you both agree he doesn't sound a million miles away from expected - that's what I thought too which is why I found the discussion with the teacher a bit puzzling and upsetting. I can remember from my own primary school days kids who couldn't read a simple sentence out loud in year 4/5 - with my objective head on I don't think he's in any danger of that but I left the discussion with the teacher feeling like he was.
None of them can string two sentences together anymore... they are done in. I wouldn't worrt about it. Red band shouldn't be expected but isn't a million miles from it.
My DS is an end of August baby and when he started Reception there were two intakes. He joined in the January after the Autumn borns started in the previous September. I constantly had feedback from the teacher to say his behaviour wasn't great. He was quite wild in the playground and couldn't sit still for long. At the end of Reception his report said that he was receiving help in most areas of the curriculum, inside and outside the classroom in small focus groups. He had made very little progress since the January when he started. I wasn't worried at the time but when I read back the report, it really isn't good. He's now in Year 5 and one of the top few in his class for everything. I really think a lot can change.
It is parental discretion when to start summer borns they don't need to start school until the summer term of course this means they are playing catch up from day one.
Honestly, I of course mean when to enter them unto reception. We all know the system. The system is antiquated and completely out of step with the rest of Europe. As is the system of refusing to allow children to repeat a year. It means some children will never succeed...ever. I was educated on the continent, summer born, entered at four, repeated a year because I was behind, left school with top grades and went to a leading university. I owe everything to the second primary school I was in... as it was their advice that I repeat age 7 and it gave me the space and time I needed to succeed. British system is ridiculous... and I teach in it but I see the flaws.
The poor child has a hearing loss and has only recently got aids so he will have missed out on all sorts and learnt a habit of switching off if trying to listen got too tiring. I hope the teacher is bearing this in mind, that and the fact that he now has hearing aids. He may need some help just learning to listen better and retrain himself to focus now he has his aids but it is hard to try and diagnose anything else until there's chance to see if he makes better progress now he can hear better.
That is really tough. I am sorry that your son is finding school work hard.
Does your son have a radio aid or a soundfield system? My son used to wear hearing aids and found the noise levels of reception a bit of a nightmare. His life really improved when his class got a soundfield system.
I think that having a tutor could be benefical, but it has to be the right person. You son is still really little. I think that private speech and language therapy might be more benefical than a private tutor at this stage. Lots of children have speech and lanaguage therapy and most of them are not disabled. My son had speech and language therapy because of glue ear.
The national deaf society has books and leaflets that have advice on helping teachers.
In my none professional experience, I'd say his results fit right in with his previous/ continuing health problems. And quite a lot of other perfectly healthy normal 5yr olds. But I don't think the teacher has the right attitude at all purely for even thinking putting any child down a year for even 1 lesson a week was vaguely ok. It's one thing to practically say they need to go up for a lesson but nobody should ever think a child should be singled out as 'not good enough' just for the sake of convenience.
In your shoes I wouldn't overly worry because I would have lost all respect for the teachers opinion based on the above. If you can make it fun then it never hurts any child to play in a way that helps academically, but I wouldn't be looking at a tutor. The y1 teacher could have a much different outlook, so if it was me I'd wait till a few weeks in and review it.
There are kids in our (excellent) school who were on red most of the way through year one. The class coped. He needs extra support in the classroom, not to go back to reception. Unless they'd let him repeat? As he's a summer born and just getting used to his hearing aids that could be beneficial?
It's rarely a good idea to repeat a year IMHO.
Your son hasn't been hearing for most of his young life now every new sound is a distraction , why wouldn't they be! I taught a boy last year who was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at the end of reception (he didn't achieve expected in any areas) and fitted with hearing aids. He has had the support of a Teacher of the Deaf and we use a radio aid in school. We have carpets and have had thick curtains hung as one wall was glass to absorb sound which makes it easier in class. He has developed good lip reading skills (it's how he coped before being diagnosed) so he sits facing the teacher at all times. But he is still playing catch up ... His language has suffered as a result so he struggles to name things (impact on understanding and communication) . He's now making progress and can read and spell simple words and sentences and complete simple calculations ... He's happy has friends and enjoys school
It is solely a British consideration that this is the case. Most other countries in the developed world do it. Are they wrong? International performance indicators would say no.
Research shows repeating a year has a negative effect (measured at minus 4 months progress).
In the U.S. 54 studies showed that when students were retained they actually went on to perform worse than if they hadn't been retained.
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